Posted August 26, 2013

Watch: Nate Schierholtz and the ugliest run-scoring play of the year

Chicago Cubs, Nate Schierholtz

The Padres and the Cubs played 12 scoreless innings Sunday before Chicago’s Nate Schierholtz finally pushed across the first run of the game with what was easily the ugliest run-scoring play of the season. After the Cubs loaded the bases against San Diego reliever Brad Boxberger on a pair of singles and a walk to lead off the top of the 13th inning, Schierholtz hit a ground ball to first base that could have resulted in a 3-2-3 double play, especially given that Schierholtz fell down coming out of the batter’s box. Instead, first baseman Jesus Guzman’s throw home hit Schierholtz in the helmet allowing all four runners, including the dazed Schierholtz, to advance safely and put the Cubs up 1-0.

Schierholtz turned his left ankle on his follow-through, went down on all fours and then took just two more upright strides before Guzman’s throw glanced off the side of his helmet and shoulder and trickled out to shortstop. The glancing blow to the head didn’t injure Schierholtz, but he did wrench his back on his swing , which is why he left the game in the bottom of the inning. Guzman, meanwhile, was charged with an error for what was a perfectly accurate throw home that had a clear path to the catcher when Guzman released the ball given that Schierholtz was on the ground at the time.

There was plenty of injury and insult on that play alone, but to make matters worse, Cubs closer Kevin Gregg promptly blew the 2-0 lead with which Chicago had ended the top of the inning. Gregg gave up a double to Guzman and an RBI triple to Ronny Cedeño (a former member of the Cubs), then let Cedeño score the tying run with a wild pitch. Two innings later, the Padres walked off against Chicago reliever Hector Rondon on singles by Logan Forsythe and Nick Hundley to win 3-2. That meant that Schierholtz’s painful run-scoring play had been all for naught, much like the rest of the Cubs’ season.